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The Best Oscar-Winning Scores

Updated July 27, 2020 10.1k votes 691 voters 36.5k views127 items

List RulesVote up the best film scores that have won an Oscar for Best Score

What is best Oscar-winning musical film score? This list includes every film score that has won an Academy Award. Oscar-winning scores have come from films such as “Chariots of Fire,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s," “The Sound of Music,” and “The Lion King.” The award for Best Score was first awarded in 1934 at the 7th Academy Awards.

Movies have the ability to make us feel. They make us want to believe, be inspired, and live vicariously through the stories we see on screen. The best of these movies are bestowed with an Academy Award nomination, and those that are truly the best take home the Oscar.

Film scores have the ability to enhance these feelings in films. They often make the movie more emotional, intense, suspenseful, or gut-wrenching. The score tells us, as viewers, what to feel and when to feel it. These best Oscar-winning film scores have done this the best. They are moving, saddening, or comical. Vote up the best Academy Award-winning scores below - based on the quality of the score, not just the quality of the film.
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  • Star Wars1
    203
    73

    Star Wars

    Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher

    Released1977

    Directed byGeorge Lucas

    John Williams
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  • Jaws2
    148
    54

    Jaws

    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss

    Released1975

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    John Williams
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  • The Lion King3
    184
    83

    The Lion King

    Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons

    Released1994

    Directed byRob Minkoff, Roger Allers

    Hans Zimmer
    The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical epic film produced by Walt Disney Feature... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring4
    175
    85

    Released2001

    Directed byPeter Jackson

    Howard Shore
    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 epic fantasy film directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • Titanic5
    208
    112

    Titanic

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet

    Released1997

    Directed byJames Cameron

    James Horner
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  • The Wizard of Oz6
    139
    62

    The Wizard of Oz

    Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton

    Released1939

    Directed byMervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

    Herbert Stothart
    The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • Beauty and the Beast7
    110
    46

    Beauty and the Beast

    Angela Lansbury, Frank Welker

    Released1991

    Directed byGary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

    Alan Menken
    Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by... more on Wikipedia
  • The Sound of Music8
    121
    58

    The Sound of Music

    Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer

    Released1965

    Directed byRobert Wise

    Irwin Kostal
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  • Schindler's List9
    114
    53

    Schindler's List

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    John Williams
    Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by... more on Wikipedia
  • West Side Story10
    96
    43

    West Side Story

    Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno

    Released1961

    Directed byJerome Robbins, Robert Wise

    Saul Chaplin, Johnny Green, Sid Ramin, Irwin Kostal
    West Side Story is a 1961 American romantic musical drama film directed by Robert Wise and... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King11
    128
    72

    Released2003

    Directed byPeter Jackson

    Howard Shore
    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic fantasy drama film directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • Mary Poppins12
    101
    51

    Mary Poppins

    Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke

    Released1964

    Directed byRobert Stevenson

    Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman
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  • The Little Mermaid13
    101
    53

    The Little Mermaid

    Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes

    Released1989

    Directed byRon Clements, John Musker

    Alan Menken
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  • The Godfather Part II14
    101
    54

    The Godfather Part II

    Al Pacino, Robert De Niro

    Released1974

    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

    Nino Rota, Carmine Coppola
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  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial15
    84
    46

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

    Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak

    Released1982

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    John Williams
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  • Up16
    90
    54

    Up

    Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner

    Released2009

    Directed byPete Docter

    Michael Giacchino
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  • Chariots of Fire17
    78
    49

    Chariots of Fire

    Stephen Fry, Kenneth Branagh

    Released1981

    Directed byHugh Hudson

    Vangelis
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  • Breakfast at Tiffany's18
    82
    54

    Breakfast at Tiffany's

    Audrey Hepburn, Mickey Rooney

    Released1961

    Directed byBlake Edwards

    Henry Mancini
    Breakfast at Tiffany's is a 1961 American romantic comedy film starring Audrey Hepburn and... more on Wikipedia

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  • Lawrence of Arabia19
    70
    43

    Lawrence of Arabia

    Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole

    Released1962

    Directed byDavid Lean

    Maurice Jarre
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  • Finding Neverland20
    57
    31

    Finding Neverland

    Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet

    Released2004

    Directed byMarc Forster

    Jan A. P. Kaczmarek
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  • Around the World in 80 Days21
    55
    32

    Around the World in 80 Days

    Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine

    Released1956

    Directed byMichael Anderson

    Victor Young
    Around the World in 80 Days is a 1956 Technicolor epic action adventure comedy film starring... more on Wikipedia
  • The Best Years of Our Lives22
    50
    30

    The Best Years of Our Lives

    Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright

    Released1946

    Directed byWilliam Wyler

    Hugo Friedhofer
    The Best Years of Our Lives is a 1946 American drama film directed by William Wyler and... more on Wikipedia

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  • Fiddler on the Roof23
    62
    43

    Fiddler on the Roof

    Paul Michael Glaser, Chaim Topol

    Released1971

    Directed byNorman Jewison

    John Williams
    Fiddler on the Roof is a 1971 American musical comedy-drama film produced and directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • The King and I24
    60
    41

    The King and I

    Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner

    Released1956

    Directed byWalter Lang

    Alfred Newman, Ken Darby
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  • Dances with Wolves25
    66
    50

    Dances with Wolves

    Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell

    Released1990

    Directed byKevin Costner

    John Barry
    Dances with Wolves is a 1990 American epic western film directed, produced by, and starring... more on Wikipedia